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Bushnell on the Trinity

Brownson's Quarterly Review, January, 1851
Art. I.-God in Christ. Three Discourses, delivered at New Haven, Cambridge, and Andover, with a Preliminary Dissertation on Language. By Horace Bushnell. Hartford: Brown 6c Parsons.    1849.     12mo.    pp. 856.
We called the attention of our readers to this volume by Or. Hushnell, in our Review for October, 1849. In what we then said of it, we confined ourselves chiefly to the au­thor's theory of language, and to some general remarks on the character and tendency of his doctrines ; we propose in the present article, and those which may follow it, to enter into a more particular and thorough examination of his views and statements as a theologian, - not, indeed, be­cause it is of much consequence to the community what are or are not the peculiar beliefs and opinions of Dr. Buslmell as an individual, but because the questions he raises are highly interesting in themselves, and of great im­portance in the present state of theology among those out­side of the Catholic Church.
The topics on which Dr. Buslmell discourses in this vol­ume, are the Divinity of Christ, the Trinity, the Incarna­tion, the Atonement, and what he calls " Dogma and Spirit in general." His work is far from being methodical, or approaching the character of a systematic treatise on all or any one. of the matters upon which it touches. In conse­quence, we shall be unable to throw our review of it into that methodical and systematic shape which we always prefer when it is possible. The most philosophical and logical method of considering the work would be to commence, after what we have said of the Preliminary Disser­tation, which contains in some measure the principles of the author's theory, with his last Discourse, entitled " Dog­ma and Spirit," and then proceed to the consideration of what is said on each of the particular mysteries dis­cussed. 'But this would compel us to recast the author's whole work, and reduce it to its logical order, - a labor which wo are unwilling to bestow upon it, and which would oblige us to begin with the discussion of some knotty metaphysical questions, not at all to the taste of the ma­jority of our readers, and which we would spare them, alter the very unreasonable amount of metaphysics inflicted upon ihem during the last year. We shall follow, there­fore, the method of the author himself, and take up tfio topics on which we propose to comment, as far as practi­cable, in the order lie presents them.
Dr. Bushnell, as our readers are aware, is a Congregationalist minister, the pastor of a congregation in Hartford, Connecticut, which calls itself Orthodox, that is, orthodox in the sense of the New England Puritans, which means, that they hold Calvinistic doctrines against Arminius, and nominally Catholic doctrines against Unitarians. His Discourses have found several opponents among the min­isters of his own sect, and one or two attempts have been, directly or indirectly, made to convict him officially of teaching heresy. But thus far these attempts have failed, and he appears to stand at this moment, if not ac­quitted, at least unconvicted, of the charge of teaching doc­trines really incompatible with those generally held by the Puritan churches of New England. This is a significant fact, and indicates either a greater departure from sound doctrine, or less respectable theological attainments, on their part, than most people have supposed.
Dr. Bushnell does not avowedly reject the sacred myste­ries we have named as the subjects of his Discourses ; he ' even professes to hold them, and assumes the air of defend­ing them against Unitarians. The reality revealed or de­clared in them he makes the profession of believing; but he opposes the verbal and dogmatic statements of them hitherto received by Christian theologians. These state­ments are not the reality itself, and tend to conceal rather than to exhibit it; and he seems to think that, if the truth pr the revealed reality could be divested of these statements, and insisted on irrespective of them, all, whether Trinitarians or Unitarians, orthodox or heterodox, would be found to be of one mind, and to embrace substantially one and the same truth, or fundamental reality. This funda­mental reality, the truth that underlies the orthodox state­ments of the mysteries, it is his aim to set forth, and he ap­pears to hope by so doing to bring about a true Christian union between the various Protestant sects, and even be­tween Protestants and Catholics. His method is to show . the inadequacy, and the contradictory and absurd character, of the approved dogmatic statements of the several myste­ries, and then to set forth the truth which those statements Avere intended to express, or the reality that underlies them. We have, then, two things to do, - to consider, 1. His repre­sentations and criticisms of the approved statements; and, 2. The mysteries as set forth in his own statements. We begin with the mystery of the ever-adorable Trinity.
" I speak of the more commonly accepted doctrine. What that doctrine is, I am well aware it would be exceedingly difficult to state. Let us pause here a moment, and sec if we can find our way to any proximate conception of it.
" It seems to be agreed by the orthodox, that there are three per­sons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in the Divine nature. These three persons, too, are generally regarded as belonging, not to the muchiiia Dei, by which God is revealed, but to the very essc, the substantial being of God, or the interior contents of his being. They are declared to be equal ; all to be infinite ; all to be the same in substance ; all to be one. But, as soon as the question is raised, what are we lo intend by the word perso?i, the appearance of agreement, and often of self-understanding, vanishes.
" A very large portion of the Christian teachers, together with the general mass of disciples, undoubtedly hold three real living per­sons in tho interior nature of God ; that is, three consciousnesses, wills, hearts, understandings. Certain passages of Scripture, sup­posed to represent the three persons as covenanting, cooperating, and co-presiding, are taken, accordingly, so to affirm, in the most literal and dogmatic sense. And some very distinguished living teachers are frank enough to acknowledge, that any intermediate doctrine, between the absolute unity of God and a social unity, is impossible and incredible ; therefore, that they take the latter. Accordingly, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are, in their view, so­cially united only, and preside in that way, as a kind of celestial tritheocracy over the world. They are one God simply in the sense that the three will always act together, with a perfect consent, or coincidence. This view has the merit that it takes consequences fairly, slates them frankly, and boldly renounces orthodoxy, at the point opposite to Unitarianism, to escape the same difficulties. It denies that the three persons are ' the same in substance,' and as­serts instead, three substances ; and yet, because of its clear oppo­sition to Unitarianism, it is counted safe, and never treated as a her­esy. However, when it is applied to Christ and his work, then it breaks down into the same confusion as the more common view, reducing the Son to a really subordinate and subject position, in which the proper attributes of deity are no longer visible or suppos-ablo.
" But our properly orthodox teachers and churches, while profess­ing three persons, also retain the verbal profession of one person. They suppose themselves really to hold that God is one person. And yet they most certainly do not; they only confuse their under­standing, and call their confusion faith. This I affirm, not as speak­ing reproachfully, but, as I suppose, on the ground of sufficient evi­dence, - partly because it cannot be otherwise, and partly becauso it visibly is not.
" No man can assert three persons, meaning three conscious­nesses, wills, and understandings, and still have any intelligent meaning in his mind, when he asserts that they are yet one person. For, as he now uses the term, the very idea of a person is that of an essential, incommunicable monad, bounded by consciousness, and vitalized by self-active will, which being true, he might as well profess to hold that three units are yet one unit. When he does it, his words will, of necessity, be only substitutes for sense." - pp. 130- 132.
How far the author licrc reproduces the statement of this sacred mystery approved by his own brethren, we shall not undertake to say ; but we can assure him that he by no means states the doctrine as held by orthodox theologians. " No man," he says, " can assert three persons, meaning three consciousnesses, wills, and understandings, and still have any intelligent meaning in his mind, when he asserts that they are yet. one person." Who, we would ask him, .maintains the contrary? No Christian theologian ever as­serts that there are in God three wills and three understand­ings, or three consciousnesses. Will and understanding are Divine attributes and follow the Divine nature, essence, or substance, which is indistinguishably one as opposed to plurality, and simple as opposed to complexity or compo­sition. The distinction of persons asserted by Christian theology is not a distinction of the substance, essence, or nature of God, for that is identically one and the same in each of the three Divine persons. So there are not three wills and understandings in God, but only one will and one understanding. Hence to allege, because we say there are three persons in God, that we hold there are three wills and three understandings in God, is to misrepresent us, and to reason very sophistically.
No doubt there; is no will or understanding where there is no person ; but this creates no difficulty, for God is not impersonal, and nobody pretends that we hold him to be so; indeed, so fur from this, the charge against us is that we make him too personal, assigning him three persons in­stead of only one person.    No doubt, again, that, where there are no will and understanding, that is to say, no ra­tional nature or substance, there is no person conceivable. But this is no objection, for God is rational nature or sub­stance, terminating as its last complement in the three Di­vine persons.    The three persons do not stand disjoined from the Divine substance;   they do not terminate each a portion or division of the Divine substance, but each has, so to speak, under it the whole undivided, indivisible, and indistinguishable substance, nature, or essence of God, so that we can say, as we are taught in the Athanasian creed, and in all the rigor of the terms too, " the Father is God, the Bon is God, and the Holy Ghost is God, and yet there are not three Gods, but one God."    The word person in it­self, and taken distinctively, is not equivalent to the word God) for the term God expresses the three distinct persons in the unity of the Divine essence.    Yet each person is God, and when we name either the Father, or the Bon, or the Holy Ghost, without intending to mark the personal distinction, we name all that we do when we name expli­citly the three persons, because the distinction of persons is ad intra, not ad extra, because the persons, though really distinguishable, are inseparable, and because the whole Di­vine nature, essence, or substance, as we have just said, is indivisibly under each person.    Personality is properly the terminus or last complement of rational nature, and the Di­vine nature, which is rational nature, instead of terminating in a single personality, as is the case with us, terminates in three personalities, or persons.
The author says, again, " Our properly orthodox teachers and churches, while professing three persons, also retain the verbal profession of one person." With his permission, this is false ; for their precise verbal profession is, that God is three distinct persons in one Divine substance, or essence, and none of them ever say, or allow any one to say, that he is but one person. The author need not labor to prove that three are not one in the sense they arc three, or that one is not three in the sense it is one, for nobody does or can believe it. Orthodox theologians are not so stupid as to contend that God is three persons, and yet but one per­son ; for they hold that of contraries one must always be false. What they teach is, that there is one God and one only God; but that in this one God there is the distinction ad intra, not ad extra, of three real persons, and that these three real persons subsist without prejudice to the strict and absolute unity and simplicity of the Divine being, or es­sence. Distinctions ad extra undoubtedly destroy the ab­solute unity of the subject of which they are predicated, but distinctions ad intra do not, for we distinguish in the cube, for instance, length, breadth, and depth, and yet without prejudice to its unity. We bring not this to illustrate the distinction of persons in God, but to show that distinctions ad intra are not incompatible with unity of substance. This being so, we can assert, after having asserted the dis­tinction of persons in God, the strict unity of the Divine essence, without denying the reality of that distinction. It is false, then, to say that, while professing three persons, we retain the verbal profession, or even the virtual profession, of one person only.
We do not prove, nor undertake to prove, by natural rea­son, that God is three real persons in one essence, or to ex­plain how he can be so, nor are required to do it, for we profess it, not as a revelation of the intelligible, but as a declaration of the superintelligible, and we believe it not on the authority of natural reason, but on the avithority of God declaring it. We know from revelation that God is dis­tinctively three persons in one indistinguishable nature, and we therefore know that he can be, for we may always safely reason ab esse ad posse. All we undertake to do by reason, and all we are required to do, is to show, not that the dogma is true, nor that it is possible even, but that rea­son is utterly unable to show that it is impossible, or that it involves, as our author, in common with Unitarians, contends, a contradiction.    As he accuses us of stating the dogma, it is contradictory and absurd ; as we ourselves really do state it, and as it is held by all Christian theolo­gians, it is neither one nor the other. The author falsifies the orthodox statement, and his objections have force against it only as he falsifies it. If he falsifies it ignorant-ly, lie is incompetent to speak on the subject, and should return to the seminary and recommence his theology ; if he does it knowingly, and therefore wilfully, we leave it to himself to characterize his grave moral delinquency. But lot us hear our author still further.
"Methods are also resorted to, in the way of explaining God's oneness in consistency with his existence in three persons, which show  that his  real oneness, as a spirit, is virtually lost.    Thus it will sometimes be represented, that the three persons are three sets of attributes inhering in a common substance; in which method, the three intelligences come to their unity in a virtually inorganic ground; for if the substance supposed be itself of a vital quality, a life, then we have only more difliculties on hand, and not fewer; viz., to conceive a Living Person having in himself, first, the attri­butes of a person, and secondly, three more persons who are attri­butes in the second degree, - that is, attributes of attributes.    It can hardly be supposed that any such monster is intended, in the way of bringing the three persons into unity ; therefore, taking the 1 substance' as inorganic, we have three vital personal Gods, and back of them, or under them, as their ground of unity, an Inorganic Deity.    I make no objection here to the supposition, that the per­sons arc mere attributes of a substance not themselves ; I ask not how attributes can be real enough to make persons, and not real enough to make substances; I urge it not as an objection, that our very idea of person, as the word is here used, is that of a living sub­stance manifested through attributes, - itself the most real and sub­stantial thing to thought in the universe of God, - I only call atten­tion to the fact that this theory of Divine unity, making it essentially inorganic, indicates such a holding of the three persons as virtually leaves no unity at all, which is more distinct than a profession of mental confusion on the subject.
" But, while the unity is thus confused and lost in the threeness, perhaps I should also admit that the threeness sometimes appears to bo clouded or obscured by the unity. Thus, it is sometimes pro­tested that, in the word person, nothing is meant beyond a ' three­fold distinction' ; though it will always be observed that nothing is really meant by the protestation, - that the protester goes on to speak and reason of the three, not as being only somewhats, or dis­tinctions, but as metaphysical and real persons. Or, the three are sometimes compared, in their union, to the soul, the life principle, and the body, united in one person, calle'd a man, - an illustration which, if it has any point or appositeness at all, shows how God may be one and not three; for the life and the body are not per­sons. Or, if the soul be itself the life, and the body its external de­velopment, which is possible, then, in a yet stricter sense, there is but one person in them all."- pp. 132, 133.
The several methods here enumerated are new to us, and we cannot forbear asking the author what Traclatus de Trinitate he has studied, and if in fact he is not somewhat accustomed, like his friend Theodore Parker, to substitute his own gloss for the text he studies, - what he fancies his author ought to say, for what he docs say ? It is a little re­markable that no neologist seems able to see straight or single, and that it is difficult, if not impossible, to lind an instance in which one faithfully reproduces the orthodox doctrine he proposes to controvert. No orthodox theolo­gian ever confounds the distinction of persons with the distinction of attributes; for the distinction of persons is a real distinction ad intra in God, whereas the distinction of attributes is not a real distinction in God, but simply a dis­tinction in our mode of conceiving the Divine Being, - what theologians call distinctio ralionis raliocinaUc, that is, a distinction which is only eminently or equivalently in God. In God himself there is no real distinction, as we have often occasion to repeat, between his essence and his attributes. He is not like creatures composed of matter and form, sub­stance and quality, essence and attributes, for he is, as all our theologians teach, most pure and simple act. He is not wise, powerful, just, and good, in the sense of being en­dowed with the qualities expressed by these adjectives, but he is wisdom, power, justice, goodness, in their essence, their substance, and absoluteness. No one who maintains this, and all orthodox theologians do maintain it, can be such a simpleton as to call the Divine persons attributes, and still maintain that they are real distinctions in God. Consequently, the objection of the author falls of itself, for the doctrine against which it is urged is no better than a figment of his own brain.
" Thus, it is sometimes protested that, in the word person, nothing is meant beyond a ' threefold distinction'; though it will always be observed that nothing is really meant by the protestation, - that the protester goes on to speak and reason of the three, not as being only somewhats, or distinctions, but as metaphysical and real persons." "Whether this is the case with some of the author's own brethren, or not, he knows hotter than we, and we confess we have no­ticed in some of the. statements of Professor Stuart of An-dover absurdities hardly less striking; but we find nothing of the sort among our own theologians. No orthodox 1he-ologian protests that the three. |)ivine persons are. merely somewhats, or distinctions, but all, without exception, main­tain that tin; distinctions, the somewhats, are three really subsisting persons in the highest and most perfect sense, of the word person. They assert, not only a distinction, but a distinction of renl persons, and therefore never make the protest here alleged. The protest they make is, that by the distinction of persons they mean no distinction of the nature or essence of (iod, but simply a distinction in its lenninus, so that the assertion of three persons, or unbsis-tcnlif/', does not, deny the strict unity of nature or essence. To speak of the three persons, after this, as real persons, is no inconsistency, implies no contradiction. What the au-Ihor means by a metaphysical person, and a metaphysical, person that is real, we are not able even to conjecture. A metaphysical person that is real would, in our vocabulary, be a contradiction in terms. The distinction of persons, not of essence, in Clod, is not a metaphysical distinction, but a real distinction, and the Divine persons are real, not metaphysical, persons.
The illustration which the author notices and refutes, borrowed from the union of the soul, the life principle, and the body in man, the appositeness of which escapes us, we have never seen adduced, and could never ourselves adduce it. And, indeed, of all illustrations borrowed from created things to help us to a conception of the sacred mys­tery, our theologians are in the habit, of remarking, that they are unlike in more respects than they are like, and that none of them are ever to be taken throughout, or for more than some single point of resemblance, or analogy; for we must never hope, by our natural reason, to comprehend what is in itself this mystery of mysteries.
It is long since wo have studied any of the standard works of the author's own sect, but we are inclined to be­lieve that a serious study even of them would have given the author a more correct apprehension of the commonly received doctrine of the Trinity.     His statements and objections induce us to believe that he has never even read a 1 realise on the Trinity written by an able theologian, and that his chief knowledge of ihe doctrine has been gathered from the writings of rationalists and infidels. When we had the misfortune and the shame of being, not only a Unitarian, but a Unitarian minister, we could have consid­ered his representation of the doctrine substantially correct; but then, and we blush to say it, we knew the doctrine only from the statements of those whose very purpose it was to make it appear ridiculous and absurd. There is no resemblance between the doctrine of the Trinity we are taught by our theologians, and that we had learned from Unitarian and infidel books, reviews, and discourses; and not one of the objections we were accustomed \o urge, or to hear urged, against the sacred mystery, lias the least force or speeiousness, when urged against the doctrine as actually taught by orthodox divines. The doctrine against which Unitarians and unbelievers direct, their attacks is, for the most part, a creature of Ihcir own imagination, and their objections evince, when not their malice, only Iheir own ignorance of the real matter in controversy. The high conceit the anti-orthodox have of their own intellectual su­periority, on theological subjects, over their opponents, is founded on their ineptness. There are more things, and profounder things, in heaven and earth, than are dreamed of in their philosophy; and, generally, the progress which all classes of neologists so loudly boast consists precisely in their not apprehending the deeper sense of the theology from which they dissent, and their having taken up with a sense that lies altogether nearer the surface. We say this not idly, nor in a lone of sarcasm; but deliberately, with a full conviction, and ample evidence, of its truth. No ne-ologist has ever yet gone back to the old theology, and penetrated its sense, but he has been struck with the depth, clearness, and justness of the views of the theologians at whom he hud been previously accustomed to make himself merry.
But let us pass to the author's own statement and de­fence of the sacred mystery.
"To indicate, beforehand, the general tenor of my argument, which may assist you to apprehend the matter of it more easily, I here suggest that the trinity we seek will be a trinity that results of necessity from the revolution of God to man.    1 do not undertake to fathom the interior being of God, and tell how it is composed. That is a matter too high Tor me, and, I think, for us all. 1 only insist that, assuming the strictest unity, and even simplicity, of God's nature, he could not be cfliciontly or sufficiently revealed to us, without evolving a trinity of persons, such as we meet in the Scrip­tures. These persons or personalities are the dramatis persona'- of revelation, and their reality is measured by what of the infinite they convey in these finite forms. As such, they bear, on the one hand, a relation to God, who is to bo conveyed or imported into knowl­edge; on the other, they are related to our human capacities and wants, being that presentation of God which is necessary to make him a subject of thought, or bring him within the discourse of rea­son ; that also which is necessary to produce mutuality, or terms of conversableness, between us and him, and pour his love most ef­fectually into our feeling." - pp. K$(), K57.
" I do not; undertake," says the author, " to fathom the interior being of God, and tell how it is composed. That is a matter too high for me, and, 1 think, for us all." Mod­esty is always commendable, but not always the affectation of modesty, as an excuse for not accepting, or even consid­ering, a revealed dogma. The author attempts to make what the lawyers term a false issue, and to provide a means ol' escape, if accused of denying the Trinity, because asserting, as the Trinity of the Holy Scriptures, a trinity whieh lies, so to speak, below God, and is distinguishable from him. No theologian asks him to tell how the interior being of God is composed, for no one believes that it is composed at all. God is most simple and pure act, and therefore excludes from his interior being, or essence, all composition and all plurality of substance. How many times must we repeat this? Nobody questions, that to fathom the interior being of God is a matter too high for us; for every one concedes at once that it is superintelligi-ble to every human intellect. But this is nothing to the purpose. The question relates, not to our ability or inabil­ity to fathom the essence of God, but to our ability or ina­bility, with the aid of Divine grace, to apprehend and be­lieve what. God has himself supernaturally declared to us concerning his own interior being, or superintelligible es­sence. If God has made us a declaration concerning his own interior being, there is no modesty, no diffidence of our own abilities, in waving it aside, under the pretence that it is too high for us. God knows better than we do what  is or is not too high for us;  and to assume that any thing which he has chosen to declare for our belief is too high for us to receive with filial submission, in faith, and devout gratitude, is to assume to be wiser than God himself.
The author's subterfuge will avail as little as his affected modesty. The sacred dogma of the Trinity is admitted on all hands to involve a mystery, and if the Trinity be a mys­tery, it must necessarily pertain to the supcrintelligible, and therefore to Ihe interior being, or essence, of God; for it is only in that interior being, or essence, that God is su-perinteliigible. In respect to Ihe universe, as author of the natural order, God is not superintelligible, but naturally "intelligible; " for the invisible things of him, from the crea­tion of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things i 11sit are made: his eternal power also and divin­ity." *(footnote: * Rom. i. 20.) We know from revelation, that God's superintelligi-bility is in his essence or interior being, in what Ik; is in himself; for it is that which the blest see in the beatific vision, and whicli they can see only by the ens siipcrnat/ira/e, or the supernatural light, of glory ; and we know also from the same source, that what God is in himself is precisely what is declared to faith in the sacred mystery of the Trin­ity, on which depends the mystery of the Incarnation, and into which, as their principle and end, all the mysteries of our holy religion are resolvable at last. To exclude the Trinity, then, as pertaining to the essence or interior being of God, is to exclude the whole Christian order or new creation, in like manner as to exclude God as the intelligi­ble would be to exclude the whole intelligible order, or nat­ural universe.
No doubt God can in a supernatural or extraordinary way make us a revelation of facts and truths of the nat­ural or intelligible order, and he has certainly done so in the Holy Scriptures, in which he has revealed historical events and precepts of the natural law. The more sober among American Unitarians, though admitting no other revelation, in some sense admit a revelation of this sort, and there­fore claim to be Christian believers, and complain that in­justice is done them when they are denied the Christian name, and placed in the ranks of those who reject the (Jos-pel.    A revelation of this sort has its value, and is indispensable to all bnt the very elite of our race; yet, in rela­tion to the mutter revealed, it is, as the Anglican Bishop Butler says, very falsely, of the Gospel, only " a republica-tion of the law of nature."    it declares nothing not within the intelligible- order, and manifestly contains, and it is the boast of Unitarians Unit it contains, no mystery; for mys­tery is not merely the unknown, differing from the known only in the  simple fact of being unknown, but something which in its very nature is superintelligiblc to every human intelligence, - transcending not only the known, but, as to natural   reason,   the   whole   order   of the   knowablc, and remaining, intrinsically   considered,   as  much  a  mystery after it is revealed or declared  as it was   before.     Jt  is something which, in its very  nature, cannot be intrinsi­cally revealed, or laid open to us, in this state of existence, but only extrinsically declared.   Now the question between believers and unbelievers  turns, not on the supernatural or extraordinary revelation of the intelligible, - a  revelation which, materially  considered,  Herbert   of   Cherbury,   Bo-lingbroke, Voltaire, and  Rousseau might as easily accept as Socimis, Priestley, Belsham, Henry Ware, or Dr. Chan-ning, - but on the supernatural revelation or declaration of the superintelligiblc:, of mystery, which even when revealed or declared is still mystery, and therefore apprehensible only extrinsically, with the understanding of faith, not intrinsi­cally, with the  understanding  of knowledge.    Evidently, then, to exclude the superintelligible from our theology  is to exclude, along with the sacred mystery of the ever-ador­able Trinity, the whole Christian order itself.
To explain Christianity so as to bring it within the in­telligible order is to identify it with nature, to make it and nature one and the same thing, which, though attempted by all rationalists who do not wholly disavow the Chris­tian name, is only an indirect and cowardly way of deny­ing it entirely. The Christian order, as a distinct and. sub­stantive order, is conceivable only as transcending or lying above the order of nature, therefore only as superintelligi­ble ; for the order of nature and the intelligible order are one and the same. In the order of nature there may be much that is unknown, but there is nothing that is superintelligi­ble; for the unknown in nature is of the same order with the known. The Christian order, then, since it is superin-telligible, must be the creation of God in the sense in which he is superintelligible. God, as we have seen, is superin-telligible only in his interior being, in what he is in him­self. The effect cannot be asserted without the cause, the creature without the creator, for otherwise atheism would be assertable, and men might be atheists without any im­peachment of their common sense, which it would be both absurd and impious to maintain. Consequently, it is im­possible to assert the Christian order at all, without assert­ing God's superintelligible essence or interior being - what he is in himself-as its cause, or creator. "What he thus is, we of course, in this world, know only by faith, not by vision as do the blest in their beatified state ; but still we must apprehend it in the same sense that we appreliend other declared mysteries, or we can assert nothing at all of the distinctive Christian order. Clearly, then, our author must exclude from his theology the whole Christian order, as distinguished from the order of nature, which is to deny it; or he must include in his theology some declaration of the interior being of God, or of what God is in himself. ."But he expressly excludes whatever pertains to the in­terior being of God, as too high for us, and places the only trinity he recognizes, not in God, but below him, and therefore really denies, whatever his intention, or the re­spectable name by which he may call himself, the Chris­tian religion, and degrades himself to the category of un­believers, if not to that of apostates.
The author complains in the outset of the orthodox statement, that it represents the Trinity as " belonging, not to the machina Dei, by which God is revealed, but to the very case, the substantial being of God, or the interior eon-tents of his being." The author here, as throughout, con­founds the mystery of the Trinity with the mystery of the Incarnation, as we shall have frequent occasion hereafter to remark, - a blunder that would be unpardonable in the youngest catechumen. The Trinity is eternal; the Incar-. nation takes place in time. But let this pass for the present. The complaint is absurd. The author professes, sincerely or otherwise, to hold the substance, the reality, of the sa­cred dogma, as commonly received, and to objeetonly to the form in which it is commonly stated or represented. If, then, he objects to a representation or form of expression which is essential to the statement of that substance or reality, he falls into the absurdity of objecting to a statement without which he cannot state what ho himself professes to hold. Tin; substance or reality universally intended by the dog­ma as commonly received, does pertain to the very esse or substantial being of God, for it is God eternally subsisting as three distinct persons in the unity of one Divine nature, essence, or substance. To deny this is to deny, not merely Ihe outward form, representation, or expression, but the inner form, the very substance and reality itself, of the sa­cred mystery. The author himself cannot deny this, for he professes to assert the proper Divinity of the three per­sons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, against Unitarians, who maintain the contrary; and they cannot be properly Divine, that is, God, unless in God, for nothing below God, out of God, or distinguishable from God, is God. To represent the 'mystery as belonging, not to the substantial being of God, but to the mavhina Dei by which God is revealed, is to deny the very substance, the very reality, declared in the dogma, the precise thing the author professes he does not deny, lie should complain of his own statement, then, not of the orthodox statement.
" The trinity we seek," says the author, " will be a trin­ity that results of necessity from the revelation of God to man," that is, a trinity that belongs, not " to the substan­tial being of God," but to " the vuichina Dei by which God is revealed." The author professes to be a Trinitarian minister; he is the pastor of a professed Trinitarian con­gregation, and is in this very discourse addressing an as­sembly of Congregational ministers, who profess to hold the Trinity, as commonly received by the Christian Church, to be a fundamental article of the Christian faith ; and there­fore the trinity he is seeking, at least the trinity he is bound by his own profession, as well as by the law of God, to seek, must be the true Christian Trinity,- the truth, substance, or reality intended by the orthodox statement of that sacred mystery. It is this he must ascertain, set forth, and defend, or fail in his avowed attempt. A trinity totally dillerent from this, even if a truth, a reality, is noth­ing to the purpose. The moon in its order is as real as the sun, but not therefore is the sun the moon ; nor is the moon the sun because it shines only by reflecting the light of the sun. The author may deny the Trinity, fall back on the intelligible, and be a Unitarian or an unbeliever, if he chooses, and is prepared to risk the consequences, but he must not claim to be a believer in the Trinity in the or­thodox sense, because he asserts another trinity, of an en­tirely dillerent order. The Trinity of Christian orthodoxy is undeniably necessary, eternal, and self-existent, and no more dependent on creation or revelation than are the be­ing and perfections of God in the sense in which he is nat­urally intelligible. Consequently, a trinity that is not ne­cessary, self-existent, and eternal, whatever else it may be, is not the Trinity of Christian theology. The distinction of persons in the Godhead, understand what you will by it, is, if there is any truth at all in the orthodox dogma, an eter­nal distinction, and therefore it is perfectly idle to attempt to resolve it into certain imaginary or even real distinctions which originate in time, and have reference solely to God's manifestation of himself to man. A trinity, if such there be, that results of necessiiy from the revelation of God to man, is not eternal and self-existent, and therefore is not God, nor is God it; consequently, it is not the Trinity of Christian theology. If the author says there is no other trinity, he only denies the Trinity, and avows himself a Unitarian or an unbeliever, and vainly and falsely profess­es to hold the substance, the reality, of the orthodox dog­ma.
God " could not," says the author, " be ellieicntly or suffi­ciently revealed to us, without evolving a trinity of persons, such as we meet in the Scriptures." Understand the word evolving in a sense not pantheistic, and this is true, if we speak only of the Christian order; but not true if we speak of the intelligible order, for in this order God is, in regard to it, efficiently and sufficiently revealed, without being revealed as three distinct persons in one Divine sub­stance. In the intelligible order, as author of nature, God is intelligible, his perfections, the invisible things of him, even his eternal power and divinity, are clearly seen, from the creation, or foundation, of the world, being understood by the things that are made. Yet in this order he is not clearly seen as three persons. No trace, no intimation even, of God as Holy Trinity, is to be; found by natural reason alone, in the whole natural order, and no man, left to that order alone, could ever have in the remotest degree even dreamed of the Trinity of Christian theology; because, as creator of the natural universe, the distinct persons have not each a distinct office, and therefore he is revealed in it to natural reason only in the unity of his being. The simple fact, then, that men have entertained the belief that Clod is three distinct persons in one substance, of which the first hint is not in nature, is conclusive proof, if we con­sider it well, that it has been .Divinely revealed; for that which in no sense exists cannot be an object of thought, and de non apparcntibus el non existentibus eadem est ratio. Error may be entertained, but error is always the misap­prehension or perversion of truth, for pure falsehood, being pure negation, is absolutely unintelligible; but where there is no truth in the order of the error to be misapprehended or perverted, there can be no error. No man could have a false notion of God, if he had no notion of God at all. As there is nothing in nature that can in any sense suggest the notion of the Trinity to natural reason, uninstructed by revelation, the fact that the notion is entertained is a proof that it has been derived from God's supernatural revelation of himself, and is therefore a truth.
'lint if we pass from the order of nature to the Christian order, we concede; that God cannot be efficiently or suffi­ciently revealed to us, without being revealed as three dis­tinct persons in one Divine substance. But why not? If he is not three persons in one substance, he can be; for it is absurd to suppose that God cannot efficiently or sufficiently reveal himself as he is, without revealing himself as he is not, or that in being revealed as he is not, he is efficiently or sufficiently revealed as he is. It will not do to say God can lie, or that he can tell the truth only by means of a falsehood. The reason, then, why God cannot " efficiently or sufficiently reveal himself to us without evolving a trini-ity of persons sucli as we meet in the Scriphircs," must be, because he is in himself such three really subsisting persons in one essence, and because the Christian order is a new creation, in which God creates distinctively as three per­sons, or in which each of the Divine persons has a distinct office, so that it reveals him explicitly in his tri-personality, as the natural order reveals him explicitly only in the iinity of his being. The natural universe is the work of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, bvit indistincily, - "Let us make man," - the new creation is the work of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost distinctly. And hence the baptismal formula is, " I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," in which the three persons are distinetly marked. Here we may see the reason why the belie!' in the Holy Trinity is fundamental in Christian faith, and wherefore to deny the Trinity is not. a secondary, but a primary or fundamental error, - the virtual denial of ev­ery truth pertaining to the Christian order; for it denies the whole new creation, by denying God in the sense in which he is its creator, its iirst and its final cause. It was not about a mere diphthong, as somebody has foolishly said, that the Catholics and Seiniariuns contended in the fourth century, for in that diphthong was involved the whole; ques-lion of Christianity or no Christianity. It is not for a mere scholastic subtilty, or vain theological distinction, that we contend against the Unitarians to-day, in contending for the sacred mystery of the Trinity, but for the whole Christian order, the whole new creation, against mere ra­tionalism, naturalism, deism, or pantheism. Not without reason, then, does the orthodox believer hold him who de­nies or casts doubt on the sacred mystery of the Trinity to be no Christian believer, but the bitter enemy of the Chris­tian religion and the souls of men.
Understood in the sense, we here explain it, the author's assertion, that God "cannot be eiUciently or sufficiently re­vealed to us without evolving a trinity of persons such as we meet in the Scriptures," can be accepted. But this is not the sense in which he himself understands it. He does not mean that the three persons are evolved or manifested, because God is three eternally subsisting persons in one substance, but that the persons result from the revelation itself, or that God, in order to reveal himself efficiently or suiliciently to us, must assume three persons, or personate a father, a son, and a holy spirit. " These persons or per­sonalities are the dramatis persnnrc of the revelation." The author holds, that God cannot reveal to us, in language, any thing of which we have not direct and immediate in­tuition, and that he can reveal himself only in so far as he exhibits himself to our intuitive apprehension. In order to do this, he must make use of such methods of self-exhibi­tion as are adapted to the nature of our understanding. These methods are the personations, as in a drama, of the characters of a father, a son, and a holy spirit, and through these impersonations, by virtue of what we already know of the characters personated, as existing in the intelligible order, he extends our knowledge; of himself.   These persons or personalities " bear, on the one hand, a relation to God who is to be conveyed or imported into knowledge; on the other hand, they are related to our human capacities and wants, being that presentation of God which is necessary to make him a subject of thought, or to bring him within the discourse of reason."
The trinity of persons said to be evolved in the process of revelation is not the absolute God, not God as he ex­ists in eternity, conceived as existing in himself prior to all creation in lime, or outward expression, but the revealed or manifested God. The following extracts may help our readers io seize the author's thought: -
" To bring the whole subject fully before us, let us endeavour, first of all, to form the distinctest notion possible of (Jod, as existing in himself, and unrevealed. Then we shall understand the better what is necessary to reveal him. 01' course we mean, when we speak of God as unrevealed, to speak of him anterior to his act of creation; for the worlds created are all outgoings from himself, and in that view, revealmonts of him. God unrevealed is God simply existing, as spirit, in himself." - p. 187.
" Observe that, when God is revealed, it cannot be as the One, as the Infinite, or Absolute, but only as through media. And as there are no infinite media, no signs that express the infinite, no minds, in fact, that can apprehend the infinite by direct inspection, the One must appear in the manifold ; the Absolute in the condi­tional ; Spirit in form ; the Motionless in motion ; the Infinite in the finite. He must distribute himself, he must let forth his na­ture in sounds, colors, forms, works, definite objects, and signs. It must be to us as if Brama were waking up ; as if Jehovah, the In­finite I am, the Absolute, were dividing oiF himself into innumera­ble activities that shall dramatize his immensity, and bring him within the moulds of language and discursive thought. And in what­ever thing lie appears, or is revealed, there will be something that misrepresents, as well as something that represents him. The re­vealing process, that which makes him appear, will envelop itself in clouds of formal contradiction,- that is, of diction which is>con­trary, in some way, to the truth, and which, taken simply as diction, is continually setting forms against each other. 1 " Thus, the God revealed, in distinction from the God Absolute, will have parts, forms, colors, utterances, motions, activities, assign­ed him. He will think, deliberate, reason, rememher, have emo­tions. Then, taking up all these manifold representations, casting out the matter in which ihcy are cross to each other, and repugnant to the very idea of the God they represent, we shall settle into the true knowledge of God, and receive, as far as the finite can receive the Infinite, the contents of the Divine nature." - pp. 139, 140.
" There is in God, taken as the Absolute Being, a capacity of self-expression, so to speak, which is peculiar,- a generative power of form, a creative imagination, in which, or by aid of which, he can produce himself outwardly, or represent himself in the finite. In this respect, God is wholly unlike to us. Our imagination is passive, stored with forms, colors, and types of words from without, borrowed from the world we live in. But all such forms God has in himself, and this is the Logos, the Word, elsewhere called the Form of God. Now, this Word, this Form of God, in which he sees himself, is with God, as John says, from the beginning. It is God mirrored before his own understanding, and to be mirrored, as in fragments of the mirror, before us. Conceive him now as cre­ating the worlds, or creating worlds, if you please, from eternity. In so doing, he only represents, expresses, or outwardly produces himself. He bodies out his own thoughts. What we call the cre­ation is, in another view, a revelation only of God, his first revela­tion."-pp. 145, 146.
u Thus, the Divine Word, or Logos, who is from eternity the Form, or in the Form of God, after having first bodied him forth in the creation and the government of the world, now makes another outgoing from the Absolute into the human, to reside in the human as being of it ; thus to communicate God to the world, and thus to ingenerate in the world CJoodnoss and Life as from him. To make his approach to man as close, to identify himself as perfectly as possible with man, he appears, or makes his advent through a hu­man birth,- Son of man, and Son, also, of God. Kegarding him now in this light as set out before the Absolute Being (who he rep­resentatively is), existing under the conditions of the finite and the relative, we see at once that, for our sakes, if not for his own, lie must have set over against him, in the finite, his appropriate relative term, or impersonation. A solitary finite thing, or person, that is, one that has no relative in the finite, is even absurd, - much more if the design be that we shall ascend, through it, to the Abso­lute ; for we can do this only under the great mental law of action and reaction, which requires relative terms and forces, between which it may be maintained. Besides, there may have been souk; subjective or internal necessity in Christ himself, (for we know nothing of his interior structure and wants,) requiring that, in order to the proper support of his attitude, ho should have in conception some finite relative impersonation. For one or both these reasons, when he appears in the human state, bringing the Divine into the human, there results, at one and the same time, a double impersona­tion, that of the Father and that of the Son, - one because of the other, and both as correspondent or relative terms. As Christ him­self appears in the finite, lie calls out into the finite with him, if I may so speak, another representative of the Absolute, one that is conceived to reside in the heavens, as he himself is seen to walk upon the earth. This he does to comfort his attitude, or more prob­ably to make it intelligible ; for if he were to say, ' Look unto me, and behold your God,' then his mere human person would be taken as a proof that he is only a flagrant and impious impostor; or else, being accepted as God by those who are more credulous, they would, in fact, receive a God by apotheosis, and under human boundaries. Therefore, he calls out into thought, as residing in heaven, and possessing celestial exaltation, the Father, who is, in fact, the Absolute Being brought into a lively, conversable, definite (therefore finite) form of personal conception, and sets himself on terms of relationship with him at the other pole ; so that, while he signifies or reveals the light and love of God, in and through the human or subject life, he is able to exalt and deify what he reveals, by referring his mission to one that is greater and higher in state than himself, viz. the Father in heaven."-pp. 1G8, 1G9.
" But, in order to the full and complete apprehension of God, a third personality, the Holy Spirit, needs to appear. By the Logos, in the creation, and then by the Logos in the incarnation, assisted or set ofl" by the Father as a relative personality, God's character, feeling, and truth arc now expressed. He has even brought down the mercies of his heart to meet us on our human level. So far, the expression made is moral ; but there is yet needed, to complete our sense of God, the Absolute, another kind of expression, which will require the introduction or appearance of yet another and dis­tinct kind of impersonation. We not only want a conception of . God in his character and feeling towards us, but we want, also, to conceive him as in act within us, working in us, under the condi­tions of time and progression, spiritual results of quickening, deliv­erance, and purification from evil. Now, action of any kind is rep-resentable to us only under the conditions of movement in time and space, which, as we have seen, is not predicable of the Abso­lute Being abstractly contemplated. God, in act, therefore, will be given us by another finite, relative impersonation."-p. 171.
This last developed person, or personality, is the Holy Ghost, who completes the trinity of personal representa­tions. The author, it will be seen, distinguishes between Absolute God and revealed God. God, as Absolute God, is no Trinity; but the revealed or manifested God is, and God is Holy Trinity only in the sense in which the mani­fested God, as distinguished from Absolute God, is God ; that is, in a purely representative sense. The distinction between God himself and the representation of God to us is conceivable, but the representation is not itself God, and no distinction between God unrepresented and God represented is admissible or conceivable. The representation must represent him truly, as he is independent of the repre­sentation, or it is a false representation, and the God repre­sented is not the true God, Absolute God. God as Abso­lute is God, neither more nor less than God, and all that is or can be predicable of God at all must be predicablo of him conceived as necessary and eternal being, as prior to, and independent of, his representation or revealment, that is, in the language of the author, as God Absolute. A rev­elation does not make that which it reveals, nor in any sense whatever affect or modify it. If a true revelation, it declares the object precisely as it exists a parle rcl; if it does not so declare it, it is a false revelation, and not to be, trusted. No distinction, then, can be made between God unrevealed, the God Absolute, and God revealed, or repre­sented tons. Whatever the process of reveahnent, or the methods of representation, they in no sense all'ect or modify God himself, nor are they themselves to be confounded with him, or to be taken for him, for their purpose is simply to present him to us as he is, independent of themselves. A representative trinity is then no real Trinity at all, and has nothing to do with the question before us, for i he substance, the reality intended by the orthodox dogma, which the au­thor professes to hold, belongs, not to the representation of God, but to God Absolute, as he is in himself, self-existent, eternal, immutable, immovable, and independent. To deny that he is Holy Trinity in this sense is simply Unitarian-ism, and none the less so because God is said to bo Trinity in a representative sense.
" Thus the God revealed, in distinction from the God Absolute, will have parts, forms, colors, utterances, motions, activities, assigned him." As eminently existing in him, as the effect in the cause, they may be assigned, not only to the representation, or represented God, but to Absolute God, for all things do so exist in him, and all that is in God is God; but if really and literally assigned to God, as formally existing in him, they are falsely assigned, and the God thus represented is neither the revealed nor the un­revealed God, for he is no God at all. That such things may be assigned to him tropically or figuratively, to help our imaginations, and to give us a lively apprehension of him, is no doubt very true, but they are never to be taken literally.    They are ligures used, not to present him to our reason, to our proper intellectual apprehension, but to our imagination and senses, and therefore, though modes of sensible apprehension, never enter into our rational concep­tion of God. Sensible apprehension is always subject to the limitations of space and time, but rational apprehension is not, and it is not necessary to prove that we have ration­al apprehension. The God we are to call God revealed is God as declared to our rational apprehension, not to ouv sensible apprehension, and the God so declared must be identically the God undeclared; for between reason and its object there intervenes no idea, species, or representa­tion. The idea is the reality, not a mere image or repre­sentation of it, and even when there are media of apprehen­sion, reason never mistakes these for the object apprehended.
" When God is revealed, it cannot be as the One, as the Infinite, or Absolute, but only as through media." Cannot be to the senses, agreed, for we have, and can have, no sensible intuition of God, that is to say, God is not revealed to our senses, is for us no sensible object; cannot be to the understanding, denied, for that would be only saying that he cannot be revealed at all. The author himself agrees that. God is one, infinite, absolute; then what is not one, infinite, absolute, is not God, but something else, or noth­ing. God must be revealed as he is, or else he is not re­vealed at all. Therefore, if revealed at all, he must be re­vealed as one, infinite, absolute. But if he cannot be so revealed, how does the author happen to know, or to be able to aifinn, that, he is one, infinite, or absolute ? If God cannot be revealed as he is as unrevealed, how has the au­thor been able to tell us what he is as unrevealed, and to say wherein what he calls God revealed is distinguished from » the God Absolute " ?
" As there are no infinite media, no signs that express the infinite, no minds that can apprehend the infinite by direct inspection, the one must appear in the manifold ; the absolute in the conditional; spirit in form ; the motion­less in motion; the infinite in the finite." Bad philosophy, as well as bad theology, my dear Doctor. There are, in the author's sense, no infinite media, we grant, for what­ever is infinite is God, and God is not something between God and man. But that the one can be apprehended only in the manifold, we deny ; for the manifold, that is, the multiple, is itself inconceivable without the intuition of unity. The conditional is the negation of the absolute, and like all negation inconceivable without the positive de­nied. The finite is simply a negative conception, and for the same reason presupposes the conception of the infinite. The positive must always precede in the mind the nega­tive, as St. Thomas teaches and proves. Consequently the conception of the one, the absolute, the spiritual, the mo­tionless, the infinite, all of which are positive conceptions, must precede the conception of the manifold, the condi­tional, the material, the motional, the finite. The order of knowledge must follow the order of being, for what is not is not intelligible or knowable. No logical process can ex­tract the one from the many, the absolute from the condi­tional, spirit from form, that is, in the author's sense, matter, the motionless from motion, the infinite from the finite, for the best of all reasons in the world, because they are not contained in them, and you cannot get from a thing what it has not. Logic is mere analysis, and analy­sis adds nothing to the conception analyzed ; it only dedu­ces or demonstrates what is already in it. The mistake into which many fall on this point is owing to the fact that they take the negative conceptions in the scums cowposi-tus, in which sense is included, not only the purely nega­tive conception, but also, obscurely it may be, the positive conception, which always precedes and accompanies it in the mind.
The author's doctrine, that God can be revealed only as finitely represented, derived from sensism, is only a denial, in other terms, that God can be revealed at all. " These three persons, or personalities," he says, " are the dramatis personre of the revelation, and their reality is measured by what of the infinite they convey in these finite forms." The infinite, we need not tell the author, is indivisible, and must be conveyed entire, as a unit, or not at all. No finite form can convey the infinite, for no form can convey more than it can contain, and no finite form can contain the in­finite. The infinite in or under finite forms is the finite, not the infinite. There can be no finite representations of the infinite, for no representation can exceed itself, and as the infinite is indivisible, the infinite finitely represented, that is, represented with limitations, is precisely the finite. God in or under finite forms is not God, but creature, if any thing.    Thus, in our Lord, that which is limited, finite, or conditioned is not. God, but man, and Christ is God, because his person which has assumed human nature is Divine, not limited, not subjected to the human form,- which would be man assuming God, not God assuming man, - but remains God in all the infinite plenitude and independence of the Divine nature. The person of Christ is not in or under a human form, for if it were it would not be a Divine person, but a human person, since whatever is in the form of man is man. Christ is indeed in the form of man, yet not because he has, if we may so speak, parted witli the form of God, and assumed that of man, but be­cause he is literally and truly man as well as God, perfect man and perfect God in the unity of one Divine person. Either, then, God can be revealed without being represented in or under finite forms, or he cannot be revealed at all; for nothing finite is God, and nothing but the finite can enter into or be represented by finite forms. Hence the author's theory of a representative trinity, as "the machiua Dei by which God is revealed," cannot answer the purpose for which In; concocts if, and can be; no medium through which God as he is can be represented, and God represented as he is not is not God, but a fiction.
Hut these imaginary, fictitious, or representative persons, according to the aufhor himself, do not represent any thing to us of the interior being or essence of God. " I do not," he s'iiys, "undertake to fathom the interior being of God." " That is a matter too high for me, and I think for us all." Then his trinity of persons represents nothing to him of God in the sense in which God is superintelligible, not intelligible to us without it; and then it is quite super­fluous. The author's whole theory is built on the assump­tion, that God is in himself unintelligible;, and that he does not and cannot reveal himself as he is. This assump­tion is not warrantable. God, to the full extent to which the author supposes him representable by the trinity of per­sons lu; imagines, is naturally intelligible, is naturally a subject, of thought, is naturally within the discourse of rea­son. His natural attributes and perfections, his unity, his eternity, his immensity, his wisdom, his justice, his good­ness,- the invisible things of him, even his eternal power and divinity, - are not only intelligible to us, but actually known, clearly seen from the creation or foundation of the world, being understood by the things that are made, as St. Paul expressly declares. God, save us to what he is super-naturally in himself, is naturally intelligible, and it is only in and by his intelligibility that any thing is intelligible, for his light is the light of our light. The author's machinery for revealing God could not serve his purpose if it were needed, and would not be needed if it could.
The author forgets, also, the distinction between faith and knowledge, and is all the time considering what may be intrinsically known of God, not what God has extrinsi-cally declared of himself for us to believe. Jt is true noth­ing can be declared to us in words, so as to be intrinsically known, of which we have not already intellectual appre­hension. Words are signs, and can signify to knowledge only what the mind apprehends without them. Signs do not interpret themselves, and the mind must have in itself a key to their signification, or they can signify nothing to it. The word tree is no sign to me unless I have seen a tree. This, confined to the sphere of knowledge; strictly so called, we readily concede ; but in the sphere of faith, belief, whether human or Divine, we. do not concede it, for the very characteristic of faith is to believe what is not seen,- Jides esl credere quod non vides, as says St. Augustine. If we could from signs learn nothing, obtain no intellectual apprehension at all, all belief, all faith, human as well as Divine, would be out of the question, and all revelation of the supernatural, and all history would be to us empty for­mulas and unmeaning words. This is a point the author has not duly considered. But as it is a point to which we must return, in our examination of his Discourse on " Dogma and Spirit," it will suffice to add here that God can reveal to us, so that we shall know it intrinsically, only what is within the naturally intelligible order, but that he can declare the superintelligible so that it shall be apprehended, though obscurely and extrinsically only, yet sufficiently for faith, and so that in faith something more than an empty formula or unmeaning word shall be pres­ent to the mind. Faith is not impossible, for without it it is impossible to please God, and faith, the blessed Apostle tells us, is spcrandantm substanlia rerum, argnmenlnvi non apparenlvum* Hence the notion the author entertains, that nothing is declared to us of  the  Christian order beyond what is collected from God's exhibition of himself to our intuition, is unfounded, as we showed in replying, in our number for April last, to The Mercersburg Review. Con­sequently, as God in the natural order is intelligible, and as in the superintelligible order he is declared only to faith,- not revealed nor required for faith to be revealed to vision, - the author's supposed machinery for representing God is as unnecessary as illusory.
Finally, the author in some sort confounds the process of revelation with that which is revealed, the representation with the represented, otherwise he could not call his repre­sentative persons God.    A little sound philosophy would have   taught   him   that in  knowledge  there  are  but two tilings, the intellective subject, and the intelligible object) and that what is not a parle rei the one is the other.    The old notion of species or representative ideas interposed be­tween the intellective subject and intelligible object, and that what is immediately apprehended is not the object it­self, but its species, phantasm, idea, or image in the mind, is now universally exploded, and was never in reality held, as the moderns   have  supposed, by the sounder   scholastics. That we see all in the idea is, we believe, true, but the idea is not the representative of the object in the intelligible or­der, but the object itself, - is in fact, in the order of intel-ligibles, as St. Augustine, St. Thomas, St. Bonavcntura, Malebranche, Leibnitz, and   Cardinal   Gerdil   teach,  God himself.    We say  Si.  Thomas, for though he has the air of holding the contrary, and usually adopts the Peripatetic forms of expression, his principles, as Cardinal Gerdil has shown in his Defence of Pcre Malebranche against Locke, are not only not opposed to it, but do in reality imply it. But let this pass.    It  is undeniable that what is appre­hended in the fact of knowledge is the object itself, not its image or representative.    Hence what in the fact of knowl­edge is not object is subject, and therefore, in the intuition or apprehension of God, what is not God, or is distinguish­able from God, is the intuitive or apprehending subject, that is, the human mind itself.
The author must concede; that his trinity of persons per­tains either to the subject or to the object. If he concedes the latter, he must maintain that the persons are not merely representative persons, but (rod himself, that is, three eternally subsisting persons in the unity of the Divine substance, which is the orthodox doctrine; and then he must abandon his notion of a merely representative trinity, of a trinity that belongs not to the substantial being of God, but to the machina Dei by which God is revealed, and resulting of necessity from the revelation of God to man. In such case he must concede that his whole theory is from beginning to end false and illusory, with not the slightest foundation in reality; for whatever pertains to God is God, and nothing distinguishable from God is God, or can be said to pertain to him save as his creature. If, on the other hand, he distinguishes his trinity of persons from God, and makes it merely representative of God, as he evidently does, he makes it purely subjective, places it, not on the side of the object known, but on the side of the subject knowing, and then it is the subject itself, or a mere figment, of the human mind, without any reality at all. Liet him, then, do his best, and he can find no medium be­tween the orthodox dogma of the Trinity, and bald, naked Unitarianism.
We insist on this last point as fatal to 1hc author, His pretension is to place himself between the orthodox for­mula and the Unitarian formula, and to concede the objec­tions adduced by the advocates of the latter, without sur­rendering the truth or reality intended by the friends of the former. The Trinitarian asserts that God is three real, distinct, and eternally subsisting persons in one Divine substance; the Unitarian denies this, and asserts, as its di­rect contradictory, that God is not three persons, but one only person, as he is one only substance. Against the Unitarian the aiuhor asserts, in words, God is three per­sons, as the Trinitarian maintains; but against the Trinita­rian he asserts that these three persons are not three eler-nally subsisting persons in the Divine substance, but sim­ply three representative persons, by which Ihe unknown and unintelligible God is represented to us. But 1o assert three representative persons is not to assert any thing against Unitarians, for what they deny is, not that there are three persons, but that there are three persons eternally subsisting in the unity of the Divine substance or essence. Consequently, when the author denies them to be such per­sons, he concedes the whole Unitarian formula. Wo, on the other hand, the concession of three representative persons is the concession of nothing to the Trinitarian, for it is not for three persons the Trinitarian contends, but for three real, distinct persons eternally subsisting in the unity of the Divine Being. He then does not deny the Unitarian error on the one hand, and save the Trinitarian truth on the other; but denies the Trinitarian truth, and asserts at best only the Unitarian error.
The fact is, the author falls below the Unitarian error, and denies not merely the tri-personality of God, but that God is himself person at all. The only personality he rec­ognizes is a personality, not in God, but in the representa­tion of God to us. God reveals himself as personal, not because he is so, but because it is only under a personal form that we can conceive him. He is personal only in relation to our mode of conceiving him, as he is said also to have hands and feet, to reason and deliberate, and to be subject to human passions. The error of the Trinitarian, according to the author, is precisely in affirming that what is true of the representation, - of the methods adopted, in consequence of our weakness, to bring God within our con­ceptions,- is true of him absolutely considered, or as he is in himself. As God has not in himself hands and feet, pas­sions, &c, for he is pare spirit and impassible, so has he not personality in himself. Consequently, God absolute is impersonal, and the author's doctrine necessarily leads, if not to formal atheism, at least to formal pantheism.